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The Penny Project
The Penny Project Vision
The Penny Project aims to work with the community through supplementary literacy and education models in order to empower the youth. I believe that by innovatively supplementing the education and literacy culture within the community, the youth will develop its own voice and become more creative and entrepreneurial.
The project will primarily focus on three government high schools servicing a high density, poor community with a population of 189,000 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. This summer was devoted to exploring Zimbabwe's educational system and conducting preliminary research on the reading culture and literacy within the three high-schools in the Nkulumane community in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
As government schools in a high density suburb, the three high schools are a vignette highlighting the current educational challenges in Zimbabwe. The schools not only lack qualified teachers as more seek employment outside the country or at private schools, but they lack the most basic resources such as textbooks. This lack of resources as well as the absence of a reading culture outside of the basic curriculum has led to a declining trend of literacy among the students. The high unemployment rate above 70% within the area, along with the emigration of parents to neighboring countries have left students with little respect for education, and much less hope for future prospects in the community, and in the country. Large numbers of community members have left for South Africa and Botswana, where they either take up menial jobs or trade goods across the border.
Possible Community Based Projects
Given the data obtained through this summer's research, there are a number of projects which I am exploring for my social engagement thesis. Among them are; creating a digital database/ library to supplement educational courses taught in school, working with community publishers to help start a sustainable school run literary magazine, teaming up with community members to build school libraries and train teachers as librarians, working with local colleges and universities to run creative writing and computer courses and coming up with innovative ways to introduce students to literature through drama and games.